It may seem like your choices are slim to none if you’re looking for a reliable phone for $200 or cheaper. But there are a few budget phones available that we do recommend — like handsets from Samsung and Motorola’s Moto G series.
To see our picks, check out the list below. A few of them have been fully reviewed by CNET editors, while others are ones we hope to get our hands on soon. (We’ll update this roundup once their reviews are up as well.) Note that we’ve linked to the unlocked version of each phone, and they should run on most of the big four US wireless carriers, unless specified otherwise.
Important: If the price of the phone shown here or at the vendor is more than $200, it’s because inventory and pricing (often from third-party resellers) has shifted since we originally published this story or the review linked herein.
Samsung Galaxy A01
As the cheapest of Samsung’s A series of phones, the Galaxy A01 surprisingly offers a lot for the price. That includes a fast-charging 3,000-mAh battery, a tear-drop camera design and a 5.7-inch display.
Read our Samsung Galaxy A01 review.
Despite its low 720p screen resolution, the Moto G Fast is still a good value at $170. It has a 6.4-inch hole-punch display, a triple-rear camera setup and a Snapdragon 665 processor.
The Galaxy A11 features a 6.4-inch display and three cameras: a 13-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 5-megapixel wide-angle shooter and a 2-megapixel depth camera. It also offers a sizable 4,000-mAh battery and expandable storage. It doesn’t have wireless charging, but it does have an oft-coveted headphone jack.
Read our Galaxy A11 first-take.
Though it’s not as good as the aforementioned Moto G Fast, the Moto E’s even cheaper price tag makes it affordable. Motorola also packaged its 6.2-inch screen, Snapdragon 632 processor and dual-camera setup in a modern, sleek design. And for more information, read CNET’s Moto G Fast vs. Moto E comparison.
Launched in July 2019, the Moto E6 smartphone is now widely available for $100. It features a 13-megapixel camera, a headphone jack and a 5.5-inch display. Oddly enough, it also has a Micro-USB port for charging (rather than the newer USB-C).
Read our Moto E6 first take.
Available for under $200, the midrange LG K40 Android phone debuted in 2019 and features a 5.7-inch display, a fingerprint sensor and a 13-megapixel camera. The phone is powered by an octa-core processor and a 3,000-mAh battery.
Read our LG K40 hands-on.
The often discounted Moto G7 Play is a favorite affordable Android smartphone. It has a 5.7-inch display, a water-repellent coating and a single 13-megapixel rear camera. For those who like to take a lot of selfies, on the front of the phone you’ll find a selfie camera flash to brighten up all those memorable moments.
Read more about the Moto G7 Play.
As the phone with the longest-lasting battery that we tested in 2019, the Moto G7 Power can last you the whole day; during lab tests its 5,000-mAh battery lasted 23 hours, 10 minutes. The phone also features a 12-megapixel camera, a 6.2-inch display and a fingerprint reader.
Read ZDNet’s review of the Moto G7 Power.